Germany, France seek to bypass US networks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will discuss ways to avoid having their emails and other data go through the United States.

In her weekly podcast on Saturday, Merkel said that a communications network should be built to avoid sending data through U.S. servers, where American officials could snoop on the messages.  

"We'll talk with France about how we can maintain a high level of data protection," Merkel said, according to a translation from Reuters.

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"Above all, we'll talk about European providers that offer security for our citizens, so that one shouldn't have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic. Rather one could build up a communication network inside Europe."

Merkel is heading to Paris on Wednesday for a joint cabinet meeting with Hollande. She said that climate change and security issues would also be on the agenda.

European leaders have expressed outrage at American surveillance programs being run by the National Security Agency (NSA), which collect data about foreign citizens. Last year, information from former agency contractor Edward Snowden showed that the NSA had also tapped the German leader’s cell phone.

In a speech last month outlining reforms to the NSA, Obama said that the U.S. would no longer spy on friendly foreign leaders.

That does not mean that all snooping has been canceled, however.

“There’s no country where we have a no-spy agreement,” Obama said last week at a joint press conference with Hollande, who was in Washington.

Hollande added that he and Obama have “clarified things” about the foreign surveillance.

“This was in the past. And then we endeavored towards cooperation,” he said.